Local athletes get international call

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Torphins runner Rhona Auckland, who won a European cross-country championships gold medal earlier this month, will be back in international action in the new year.

The Banchory Stonehaven AC athlete excelled on her Great Britain debut in Budapest when she helped her side win team gold in the under-20 women’s age group.

Now Rhona has been selected to represent Scotland in the Celtic nations cross-country meeting in Cardiff on January 20.

Rhona will be making the step up to the under-23 women’s race so will be up against many older and more experienced athletes.

That should not be an issue for the 19-year-old, as two years ago she won the under-20 women’s race when the Celtic international was held in Dublin.

Rhona plans to compete in the Lumphanan Detox 10km, which is due to take place on Wednesday (January 2), before representing the Scottish Universities select team in the Scottish inter-district championships at Edinburgh’s Holyrood Park.

Robbie Simpson (Deeside Runners) will make a rare cross-country international appearance when he represents the Scotland under-23 men’s team in Cardiff.

The Great Britain mountain running team member has extensive experience of competing in international hill races, but this will be his first major cross-country match.

Robbie earned his place by finishing runner-up to Murray Strain (Hunters Bog Trotters) in the Scottish East District championships at Cupar this month.

After that race, he spent some time training in Tenerife but returned home to Deeside in time for Christmas.